Sunlight Rises at Flemington

In Industry News & Views by Ben Ready

A sensational win for Aquis Farm and partners owned Sunlight, the lone filly in the field over Zousain and Lean Mean Machine in the Group I VRC Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday.

Winner of the Magic Millions 2YO Classic, the Tony McEvoy trained filly was dominant over the colts last season so it wasn’t the hardest choice for him to allow Sunlight to take her chance against the colts in this elite sprint worth $1million.

A touch slowly away in the Group I MVRC Manikato Stakes at her previous run when finishing an unlucky seventh, Sunlight bounced back to her brilliant best with regular rider Luke Currie back in the saddle and jumped fast to track the leader Written By as they motored up the straight.

She was strong to the line, seeing off Written By and then holding off challenges from Zousain and Lean Mean Machine to win by half a neck taking her record to eight wins from 12 starts with prizemoney topping $3million.

“She had no favours last start when stepped away slowly and was in an awkward place, but today she flew out,” said Luke Currie.

“She was on the buckle all the way and spent no petrol so was strong to the line.”

A $300,000 Magic Millions purchase for Aquis/McEvoy Mitchell Racing/Blue Sky Bstock from the Widden Stud draft, Sunlight was bred in partnership by Widden Stud, whose Katie Thompson also shares in her ownership along with Aquis’ very own Loretta Fung.

Aquis Farm also shared in the joy being part-owners of Sunlight and also third place-getter Lean Mean Machine.

“Wow, what can I say!” said Tony McEvoy.

“It was a big call to take on the colts, but I always had faith in her. She’s a courageous superstar. She was better than the colts as a two year-old and they get the nice 2kg pull off them in the weights.”

Sunlight is a half-sister to Group III placed Sheikha and is the third winner from former speedy filly Solar Charged, winner of the Group III ATC Kindergarten Stakes at her second start.

Sunlight is the first Group I winner for Zoustar, whose sire Northern Meteor won the Group I VRC Coolmore Stud Stakes in 2013 and his sire Encosta de Lago won the race in its previous incarnation when it was the Group II VRC Ascot Vale Stakes.